Famous Feasts in History Roman Lucullus's Feast

About the famous feast of Roman Lucullus, history, menu, and description.


The Occasion: Lucullus is host to Lucullus, Rome, c. 60 B.C.

The Host: The Roman gourmand and former general Lucius Licinius Lucullus.

The Menu: This epicure had menus filed according to cost--the more important his guests, the more costly the menu. The meals ranged in price up to 200,000 sesterces ($20,000) and were served in special halls in his palatial $1.5 million home. Meals enjoyed in the Hall of Apollo, for example, cost at least 25,000 sesterces per guest. For this solitary meal, Lucullus merely told his servants that he would be dining alone.

Table Talk: Plutarch tells us that the servants brought in a "simple" 10,000-sesterce dinner and that Lucullus raged at them. "But you are alone," they protested. "That is when you must take special pains," Lucullus replied, and then he uttered what became a famous proverb: "To night Lucullus is host to Lucullus." A Lucullan feast has come to mean a sumptuous one.

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